Dining

Tasty Takes – “Cardiff Crack” from the Cardiff Seaside Market

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Cardiff Crack - quite possibly illegal in some states

Visit the beach community Cardiff-by-the-Sea and you might get addicted to crack. Cardiff Crack, that is. In-the-know junkies so dubbed the Burgundy Pepper Tri-Tip from Cardiff Seaside Market at some point since 1990, when the marinated masterpiece first became available.

Be warned: taking a bite of the tender cut of meat fresh off your grill has been known to lead to an adventure so rich, juicy, and peppery you’ll be hard-pressed to satisfy yourself with a single serving.

“It’s our hottest selling item by far,” said Bob Byrne, the meat department manager at Cardiff Seaside Market. “We’ve got people who come all the way from Orange County to buy it.”

“It’s true,” said Dan Mezich, a Cardiff local hooked to the tender cut by his own admission. “I went in there in the late ‘90s and they told me this was the best Tri-Tip around.” Like many a sampler, the 43-year-old contractor first stumbled upon the “crack” at Cardiff Seaside Market by chance.

Tri-Tip is a boneless cut of beef taken from the bottom sirloin, or lower part of the cow’s ribs. It gets its name from the triangular shape. According to Byrne, the meat department can sell out of 600 to 700 pounds of Burgundy Pepper Tri-Tip on a busy holiday weekend alone. “On Memorial Day, it was crazy,” he added. At $8.99 per pound, meat eaters have shelled out a pretty penny to stock their barbeque feasts.

The finished product in all its glory

The finished product in all its glory

A cut particularly tender to begin with, the seasonings added by Cardiff Seaside Market tenderize it to new heights. When asked to state the secret behind the local sensation, Byrne explained, “The key is the marinade we use and the process. We marinade it in a vacuum tumble machine, put it in plastic containers. The air gets pumped out and spins so the marinade can really absorb.” About an hour later, the “crack” is ready for the dealing. And the answer is “no,” the meat manager would not reveal exactly what ingredients get smothered into the meat.

Upon trying the Burgundy Pepper Tri-Tip for the very first time, your reaction might be similar to that of Carmel Valley resident Rachel Leigh. One evening in Carmel Valley, she finally tasted the famed meat marvel for herself (full disclosure: my husband and I were present and already suffer from Cardiff crack addiction).

“Oh my gosh, that is good!” she gushed with a mouthful, proclaiming, “As a woman who knows her meat and grew up on a ranch in Texas, I am definitely going to go and get this.”

Ladies and gentlemen, gas up your grills! Crack craze, meat madness, whatever you want to call it, Burgundy Pepper Tri-Tip really is worth the trip to Cardiff.

Cardiff Seaside Market
2
087 San Elijo Avenue
Cardiff-by-the-Sea
http://seasidemarket.com/

Hours
Open daily from 7:30 am – 10:00 pm.

2 Comments

  1. Chip

    August 19, 2009 at 11:13 am

    My friends and I have been calling it cardiff crack for years now. I thought it was a nickname that they gave it, but I guess not. It really is the best meat I have ever eaten in my life. I am trying to explain that to the argentines I am currently living with in buenos aires, but that cut of meat, they insist, cant be cooked on a bbq (parrilla). If only they knew, if only.

    I once met a lady who drove out from Phoenix to buy over 50 lbs of the stuff for 4th of july. It is that good. Seriously, I have tears in my eyes just thinking about how far away I am from seaside market an my wonderful cardiff crack.

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